Gillian (Gil) Adamson, poet, novelist (b at North York, Ont, 1961). Growing up in the Greater Toronto Area, Gil Adamson studied anthropology and philosophy at the University of Toronto. She began her publishing career in 1985, working with Coach House Press as an editorial assistant and publicist. In 1987 Adamson moved to CBC Radio Guide to work as a publishing assistant. She has also worked as a publicist for the Toronto Small Press Book Fair, and as an associate editor for What! Magazine. Adamson's first publication came in 1991 with Primitive, a collection of poetry. Her second poetry collection, Ashland, was published in 2003. In addition to poetry, Gil Adamson has also published a short story collection, Help Me, Jacques Cousteau (1995), co-authored a biography of actress Gillian Anderson entitled Mulder, It's Me (1998), and written a novel, The Outlander (2007).
Written over the course of ten years, The Outlander is Gil Adamson's most celebrated work. The novel follows Mary Boulton, a nineteen-year-old woman on the run across Canada after she murders her husband. Adamson creates a sense of empathy for Boulton by providing a back story in which her protagonist is forced to leave an alcoholic father and falls into the arms of the first man that can care for her. Her husband turns out to be a philandering and uncaring man, and by the time Boulton shoots him the action seems palatable to the reader. Fleeing to Canada's west, Adamson's protagonist settles in Frank, Alberta, home of the worst landslide in North American history. The landslide forms the backdrop to The Outlander, and Adamson shifts focus to the historical details of the disaster. At its core, The Outlander is a story of a woman's journey into the wild and her struggle for freedom and independence. Critics have applauded Adamson for her cinematic descriptions of her settings, her effective character development and strong use of imagery. Adamson has cited as influences fellow Canadian author Michael Ondaatje and American writers Raymond Carver, Richard Ford and Mark Richard.
For The Outlander, Gil Adamson won the ReLit Award, the Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Drummer General's Award, and the 2007 Hammett Prize for crime writing. The debut novel was also a finalist for the Trillium Book Award (2008) and was selected for the 2009 Canada Reads competition.